Many churches throughout the world have taken to an annual Blessing of Animals Service.
Most of these services are held on or near the purported date of the birthday of Francis of Assisi, October 4.
Francis is known as the Patron Saint of the Animals and helps planners to have a focus for the services.
(For more on Francis)
The actual date and time of your service is totally up to you – many hold the service on the Sunday nearest to October 4, others the Saturday nearest. Some hold the service in the afternoon others in the morning. Some hold the service on the church lawn, others actually encourage the pets to come in the church building.
(For video examples)
Some use a minimal liturgy to focus on blessing each individual animal fairly quickly with least chance of distraction for the pet.
Some use a more formal liturgy with congregational singing and prayers.
But, it is good to remember that it doesn’t have to be elaborate to meet a need.
One pastor started by placing a notice of the service on the congregational notice board in front of the church building where thousands of people traveled by every day.
The first Blessing of the Pets service in Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania, brought 23 dogs and cats and their assorted people to meet the pastor on the church lawn – most of whom had never stepped foot into the church before this.
You are urged to give it a try.
Here are some ideas.
You may use any of them.
But you are encouraged to be creative.
The days are shorter, the nights are longer. The autumnal sun dances through the colored leaves – it’s as though God had this in mind all summer long.
It is right, and quite natural, for us to feel a certain thankfulness for all the blessings that come our way – especially at this time of year.
Thanksgiving is one of the...
'Twas The Beginning of Advent
By Todd Jenkins
'Twas the beginning of Advent and all through the Church
Our hope was all dying-- we'd given up on the search.
It wasn't so much that Christ wasn't invited,
But after 2,000 plus years we were no longer excited.
Oh, we knew what was coming-- no doubt about that.
And that was the trouble-- it was all...
Paul writes about a resurrection appearance of Jesus before an audience of over 500 people.
One writer ruminates:
“ 500-plus people react to an appearance by Jesus, the one who had been crucified and buried?
Would they applaud...
Traditionally, the Church has set aside four weeks prior to Christmas as a time to prepare. We call this time Advent.
While most of our culture does take several weeks to prepare for Christmas, most of...